Reﬂections on Rwanda’s
approaches to crime related
Open University of Tanzania, Kigali, Rwanda
Purpose –In this paper, the author intends to showcase the effectiveness of the Rwandan legal regime
governing criminalasset recovery. This paper aims to advocate for a need to enforce laws, whichseems to be
dormant, and to ensure fairnessof action when conﬁscating or seizing assets that initially belongsto bonaﬁde
Design/methodology/approach –The author assesses the effectiveness of lawNo. 42/2014 of 27/01/
2015 governing the recovery of offence-related assets in Rwanda and compares it with established
international standardsprovided in major conventions to which Rwanda is a party. Primary and secondary
sources of legal research havebeen used. Primary sources include international conventions,domestic laws
and case laws. Secondarysources include books, chapters, journal articlesand policy papers.
Findings –In this paper, the author submits that the law on crime-related asset recovery suffers from
strategic deﬁciencies and gaps and posits that the process of asset recovery should be streamlined and
balancedto meet the aims of crime prevention.
Originality/value –This researchpaper is a ﬁrst of its kind. Through positivecriticism, it showcases that
Rwanda is doing well through the establishment of relevant laws to combat crime. However, it proposes
solutions to identifygaps. This paper is original and has never been published anywhere else, and all sources
used have dulybeen recognized.
Keywords Money laundering, Rwanda, Asset recovery, Seizure, Conﬁscation
Paper type Case study
Every year, developingcountries lose between US$20 to US$40bn through corrupt practices.
This amount of money representsalmost 2 to 5 per cent of the global GDP (Jean-Pierre et al.,
2011, p. 1). A study by the European Commission estimated that assets equivalent to more
than a half of African foreigndebt is located in foreign banks (Daniel, 2015,p.1).
Asset recovery is one of the fundamental pillars of global anti-corruption framework
under which states are mandated to afford to one another the widest possible measure of
cooperation and assistance.
In the Rwandan criminal justicesystem, asset recovery remains a complex phenomenon.
Even in the presence of a speciﬁc law to recover crime-related assets, there is still little case
law and literature to supportthe law enforcement and other ofﬁcials tasked with the job.
In 2015, Rwanda enacted a law on the recovery of crime-related assets, which authorizes
the seizure, conﬁscation and management of offence-related assets. This law also
LLB(NUR), LLM(UWC) and PhD Candidate (Vrije University, Amsterdam. The author is grateful to
Dr Jean Philippo and Dr Davis Edgar for their insightful comments on previous draft. All online
references were correct at the time of writing.
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.25 No. 1, 2018
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